Family Cinema Films

Family films to see at the cinema this week

Fancy a trip to the cinema, but don’t know what would be fun with the kids? Here’s our up-to-date guide of family films, written by Mike Davies especially with families and kids in mind. Everything from small scale films to great blockbusters for all the family!

Please note that not all 12A films are appropriate for younger children. Let’s Go With The Children offers a guide to what’s suitable for family viewing.

Out this Thursday 30th June

despicable me 3

In cinemas from Thursday, Despicable Me 3 finds Gru suffering an identity crisis when he and Lucy are fired from the Anti-Villain League after failing to capture celeb-turned-diamond thief Balthazar Bratt. But, when Gru meets his super-rich, super-cool long lost blonde-haired twin brother, Dru, who wants to follow in his footsteps, he’s persuaded to return to his super-villain life with for one last big job. However, it’s the Minions dancing a routine in black and white prison uniform who steal the show. Full review and LGWTC Guidance shortly but we are sure to like it!

New releases out now

Wonder Woman Film

Wonder Woman 3D (12A)

Having made her debut in Batman v. Superman, Amazon princess Diana returns with her own origin movie, surely the best of the recent run of DC adaptations.

As the film is framed between present day sequences, Diana Prince (Gal Godot) finds an old photo of herself in WWI and so the film flashbacks to her childhood on the hidden island of the Amazons. Here we see her mother, Queen Hippolyta’s, concern for Diana’s power, worried it will attract the attention of Ares, the God of War, wounded in a war between the gods after he corrupted mankind. She still trains to be a warrior and then one day Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), an American spy, crashes into the sea. She rescues him, but then the Germans arrive, pitting guns against Amazon swords and arrows.

Learning of the Great War and that Trevor has information that could help stop obsessed General Ludendorff (Danny Huston) and his chemist, Doctor Poison, unleashing a lethal gas and winning the war, she insists on returning with him. Now, armed with shield, the lasso of truth, the god-killer sword and a fetching red, blue and gold outfit, they, together with a trio of mercenaries, end up in Belgium. Diana storming the German lines and, eventually, facing off against Ares in a CGI spectacular climax. A charismatic torch bearer for female empowerment in a universe awash with testosterone, Godot is terrific; here’s hoping she’s not drowned in it in the upcoming Justice League. 141 mins also in 2D and IMAX 3D

LGWTC guidance: It can’t rival Guardians, but, the final stretch is pretty much action all the way, but also finding room for humour and romance along the way, this old-fashioned adventure is the best DC super-hero films since the Dark Knight trilogy.

Transformers film

Transformers: The Last Knight 3D (12A)

A loud, incoherent, garish mess, the fifth instalment grinds it way through a tsunami of visually spectacular CGI in the service of a plot that creaks more than an Autobot in need of a service. Returning to his home planet to find it in ruins, Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) falls under the spell of the sorceress Quintessa, who plans to destroy Earth in order to rebuild Cybertron. To do so, she needs to get her hands on the staff of power given to Merlin by Cybertronians who crashed on Earth centuries before and joined forces with King Arthur. To which end, Megatron and the Decepticons are in search of it, as are Cade Yeager (Mark Whalberg) and Oxford professor Viviane Wembley (Laura Haddock), who, as Merlin’s last descendent, is the only one who can wield its power. Thrown into the blender, you also get Anthony Hopkins as an astronomer who holds the secret to the Transformers coming to Earth, his sociopathic robot butler, Josh Duhamel as the commander of the Transformer hunters, and a feisty street girl and her trusty ‘bot, but, while there’s plenty of action, sense, wit and fun are in very short supply. 149 mins. Also in 2D and IMAX 3D.

LGWTC guidance: It’s everything you’d expect from a film that features dialogue like “Oh, my God, a giant alien ship!”

Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar's Revenge family films

Pirates Of The Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge (3D) (12A)

Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley make cameos (though you need to sit to the end for her’s) with Geoffrey Rush is also back as Barbossa for another instalment in the increasingly tired pirate saga. Will and Elizabeth’s son, Henry  (Brenton Thwaites) is in search of Posiedon’s Trident so he can free dad from the Flying Dutchman curse. Meanwhile, feisty orphan female astronomer Carina (Kaya Scodelario), on the run accused of being a witch,  is searching for an uncharted island to solve the secret of her dad’s diary. Their paths inevitably cross that of Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) who, trading his magic compass for a drink inadvertently releases pirate hunter Salazar (Javier Bardem) and his fellow dead crew from their Devil’s Triangle prison. He too wants  the Trident as well as revenge on Jack, and strikes a deal with Barbossa to find the latter, while the British Navy are also after it to take control of the seas. There’s plenty of action and great effects (especially Salazar’s crew and the zombie sharks), but  the jumbled plot makes less sense the longer it lasts and the more back story twists  it throws in (including how Jack got his name and became a captain) and, while Depp’s sozzled pirate was once amusing, now he’s just annoying. Dark and scary in places for youngsters with some unnecessary sexual innuendos, it says much when a Paul McCartney cameo  is one of the plus points. Time to consign all this to Davy Jones’ Locker. 129 mins Also in 2D and IMAX 3D.

LGWTC guidance: Often visually spectacular, it’s bludgeoningly entertaining, but all the noise and effects can’t hide how tired it’s all become.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul family films

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul (PG)

There’s a new cast, but, set a year after the last film, the big screen adventures of Jeff Kinney’s characters remain pretty much the same. Humiliated when a video of him with a nappy stuck to his hand goes viral, Greg  Heffley (Jason Drucker) is also less than happy about taking a  family road trip to  his gran’s 90th, especially since mom (Reese Witherspoon) has confiscated all the cell phones. However, Greg has a plan to ‘divert’ the trip so he and elder brother Rodrick (Charlie Wright) can get to a  major gaming convention where he hoped to be in a  video with his hero.  Naturally, nothing goes smoothly, including his baby brother accidentally winning a pooey piglet at a state fair. Essentially a younger knockabout version of the National Vacation films but with more poop jokes, it’s a bit flat in places but the new cast rise to the occasion.  91 mins.
LGWTC guidance: New places, new faces, but still the reliably familiar fun. A great family film for the kids.

Gifted film

Gifted (12A)

Little Man Tate meets Kramer versus Kramer, in this unsentimental tearjerker involving a child mathematical prodigy and custody battle. When her mother, a brilliant mathematician, committed suicide, her brother, Frank (Chris Evans) moved to a low rent neighbourhood to raise and home-school his niece, Mary (McKenna Grace), as an ordinary child away. However, now she’s six, he enrols her at the local elementary school so she can mix with kids her own age. After Mary displays her gifts in class and Frank turns down the head’s offer of a free place at a maths academy, he finds his domineering estranged mother in town demanding Mary be given an education befitting her gifts. Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan), herself a former maths prodigy soon takes her son to court in order to gain custody of her granddaughter. Avoiding weepie schmaltz and raising thoughtful parenting questions, it’s well served by a strong cast. Evans showing an unexpected soulful side, Duncan making Evelyn a far from one-dimensional wicked witch, while Grace, top front teeth missing, gives the best child actor performance since Abigail Breslin in Little Miss Sunshine. The one-eyed cat’s just a bonus. 101 mins


guardians of the galaxy family films

Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 3D (12A)

It starts brilliantly with Baby Groot (Vin Diesel) dancing to ELO’s Mr Blue Sky while the other Guardians, Peter ‘Star Lord’ Quill (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista) and Rocket (Bradley Cooper) battle a giant tentacled monster in the background. And it gets better. Fleeing the gold-skinned Sovereign High Priestess and her followers, after Rocket stole some of the batteries they were supposed to protect, the Guardians, along with Gamora’s revenge-obsessed sister Nebula (Karen Gillan), are rescued by a mysterious space ship, the occupant of which turns out to be Ego (Kurt Russell), Quill’s long-lost father. Taking him, Gamora and Drax to his world while Rocket and Baby Groot fix the ship and guard Nebula, he explains he’s quite literally a living planet who took on human form. Now he wants to play daddy. Gamora’s suspicious, and rightly so when Ego’s empath companion, Mantis, reveals his plans for the universe. Meanwhile, the Sovereign have enlisted blue-skinned Ravager Yondu (Michael Rooker) to track them down.

Combining awesome digital effects, pulse-pounding action and hilarious irreverent humour, themes of family, sibling and parent-child relationships, self-worth, identity, redemption and forgiveness loom large in the hugely entertaining romp. Don’t leave before all fine end credit clips!

LGWTC guidance: Thrills, laughs and poignancy, this is galaxy-sized fun.